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No new cases of COVID-19 in the community today; 33 of the 109 close contacts of the infected South Auckland family return negative results; Alert level announcement to be made at 4:30pm on Wednesday

No new cases of COVID-19 in the community today; 33 of the 109 close contacts of the infected South Auckland family return negative results; Alert level announcement to be made at 4:30pm on Wednesday

UPDATED AT 4:15PM

There are no new cases of COVID-19 in the community on Tuesday.

The South Auckland mother, father and daughter with COVID-19 are in managed isolation. One of their household contacts is isolating at home. 

The origin of the family's infection is still being investigated. 

The Ministry of Health has identified 109 close contacts outside of the household. Of these, 33 have returned negative test results. 

Of the 33, 14 are from Papatoetoe High - where the daughter goes to school. The 33 also includes those who travelled with two of the cases to New Plymouth, as well as the father's workmates. 

The Ministry has also identified 2000 “casual plus” contacts. These includes students and staff at Papatoetoe High School and people who were at the same locations as the three cases. 

On Monday, 5818 tests were processed and more than 15,000 swabs were taken.

Bloomfield said no traces of COVID-19 had been picked up through wastewater testing in Auckland, New Plymouth and Hamilton. This testing is sensitive enough to pick up even a singular case of someone shedding the virus.

However because it takes 48 hours for these results to come through, results from Monday will only be known on Wednesday. The Auckland mother and daughter returned positive tests on Saturday night. 

The Government will provide an update on alert levels on Wednesday at 4:30pm.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said Cabinet will use the same criteria it's always used to assess alert levels. 

Here's a press release from the Ministry of Health:

There are no new cases of COVID-19 in the community and no cases in managed isolation to report today.

We are formally recording the sad death of a patient with COVID-19 at North Shore Hospital, which was first announced on Saturday 13 February.

This death has now been included in our official COVID-19 related deaths. A total of 26 people have now died with COVID-19 in New Zealand.

We continue to offer our deepest sympathy to all those affected by COVID-19.

One previously reported case has now recovered. The total number of active cases in New Zealand is 46. Our total number of confirmed cases is 1,981.

Update on Auckland February cases

The three positive cases remain in quarantine at our Auckland facility. Their household contact is in isolation at home under strict public health protocols and supervision.

Our intensive investigation around the potential source of transmission for all three cases continues. We have a number of scenarios we are pursuing.

Testing

There has been a surge in demand for testing. So far, all results are negative.

We would like to acknowledge the hardworking staff at our testing centres, general practices and other clinics who continue to swab for COVID-19. We also thank everyone who patiently waited for their COVID-19 tests yesterday.

We are anticipating strong demand again today.

It’s important the right people can get access to testing — so please don’t rush to a centre if you are well, or if you weren’t at one of the current locations of interest.  

Information on where to get a test is available at Healthpoint.co.nz.  Healthpoint has all the testing locations and hours supplied by DHBs – it includes more than 1,100 testing sites nationwide, including most GPs.

On Monday, 5,818 tests were processed. The seven-day rolling average up to yesterday is 4,380 tests processed.

The total number of tests processed by laboratories to date is 1,595,770.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing has now identified 109 close contacts outside the household.

Of these, 33 have returned a negative test and 74 results are pending.

The increase in the number of close contacts is because of a very precautionary approach to people classified as close contacts at one of the locations of interest. All contacts from this location have been identified and there is no public health risk.

More than 2,000 contacts have now been identified as casual plus and loaded into the national close contact tracing system. These include people who attended workplaces of Case B and C, Papatoetoe High School and other locations of interest.

Health Services remain open

New Zealand’s hospitals, pharmacies, GPs and urgent care clinics remain open to provide care to patients. We urge anyone needing medical care not to put it off.

All health services are regarded as essential and will continue as usual with an additional focus on infection prevention control measures and physical distancing of patients.

If you are unwell with the symptoms of COVID-19 please call your contact at the hospital or clinic before coming to an appointment. They will tell you what to do.  

Historical cases  

Since January 1, there have now been 29 historical cases, out of a total of 171 cases.

NZ COVID Tracer

NZ COVID Tracer now has 2,620,649 registered users. More than 1.1 million (1,147,193) people have now enabled bluetooth.

Poster scans have reached 181,250,153 and users have created 7,435,475 manual diary entries.

It’s critical to keep track of where you’ve been and the COVID Tracer app is an easy way to do this. Please continue to scan QR codes wherever you go and turn on Bluetooth tracing in the app dashboard if you haven’t already done so.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

38 Comments

Not as good as finding the index case, but the next best thing I suppose.

so far so good. actual source of the last one remains unknown or perhaps undisclosed. this one hopefully will fade out, but given the reaction, it is almost impossible to see any relaxation of present border restrictions in the foreseeable future. for instance some sort of bubble with some Australian state(s) would only amplify the opportunity for recurrences of the present lockdown and worse.

They've only reported 5,000 or so of the tests done yesterday so still 2/3rd of the results from yesterday's tests are being processed + todays. If tomorrows results are 0 further community cases and waste water testing is negative, then NZ needs to go back to level 1, Auckland at 2 with 100 gatherings and Auckland back at 1 from midnight Friday (assuming no further community cases that weren't already in isolation).

Strongly agree.

Why Ak at level 2. Im convinced the whole thing is a nice big PR exercise in excessive kindness, and general stupidity.

Nope. It's science, fact, and keeping our population safe during, oh I don't know, A GLOBAL PANDEMIC THAT KILLS.

I’m not sure we should rush back to 1, that is the everything is definitely fine level, I doubt they could say that by Friday.

That super spreader UK variant is doing a poor job

Is this all a big joke to you? Lots of businesses are suffering with lockdowns, and children's schooling disrupted, and all you can joke about is how the UK variant is doing a poor job? Wow.

20
up

Sounds like the reaction to the virus is more of a problem than the virus itself.

Precisely my point Brock, thanks for getting it

Your point is that you STILL have your head buried up your butt about the consequences of a serious outbreak of Covid in NZ? Not sure i'd be shouting that so loud, but you do you.

Obviously Brock, the rock you're living under isn't news capable - the "overreaction" you seem to be alluding to is the reason we currently have control of the virus and most (on a country wide basis) of our public freedoms.
Perhaps you'd prefer a softer "oh well sh!t happens" type response until we find ourselves in a UK or US situation??

Maybe he refers to a shit happens type approach where it doesn’t make the news every 10 seconds and we all just live with it (or die with it). Personally I prefer our current approach but I do agree the world has overreacted and a complete don’t worry approach would be my second favoured option. The UK and US seem to keep changing their minds, that is the worst option.

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I survived covid just fine. Would be interesting to see how my overweight boomer landlord fares ;)

Is it a flaw in Boris variant or Xi Jinping virus itself LOL

The bug is not airborne. We don't have an outbreak like the Brits have, much less chance for people to get infected via droplets.

The bug is just waiting for winter.

Always tougher playing away from home. It's played a blinder in the UK though - months of rolling lockdowns, the biggest knock to the economy in 300 years, and it still managed to kill roughly 1 in 600 Brits and counting.

Early days, the testing is unreliable and it also takes time to show a positive. Even with zero new cases your not out of the woods for weeks. We cannot afford to keep having this make it into the community. The real cost of returning people into this country is tens of thousands each. The team of 5 million has had a guts full of this. Is it now not time to keep everyone out of the country unless they can prove they have been vaccinated ? This would at least be one step closer to keeping it out.

This comes across as incredibly selfish. It's not enough to price your fellow kiwis out of housing, you want to make a number of them also stateless?

By throttling MIQ spots that is exactly what the govt has done Brock.

It's all about the optics.

I'm getting the impression that there is no ranking of the swabs before testing so that if the labs receive say 3000 but 100 odd come from Paptoetoe HS and other close+ contacts they are just put in the queue in the order received or if a batch received just at random out of the batch. If this is not the case why is it taking so long to get the Paptoetoe HS or other more likely contact places results out?

Great to hear they are doing wastewater testing

The waste water testing may well reveal we can add a serious drug problem to our existing problems of child poverty, housing and inequality.

Where have you been for the last 18mnths?? Wastewater testing has already quantified the level of hard drug use in large chunks of our major cities - keep up son

In my view we have lost our perspective on the reality of what can and can't be done with a virus like this - much like king Canute & the tide. A large proportion of the population seems gripped by fear that only (unsophisticated) lockdowns can fix. I think its time that the honest narrative - that some annual mortality is going to be inevitable as it is with many other diseases - is given by our Government sooner than later.

Maybe after we are all vaccinated?

If it's the UK variant it could be extended.

I'm getting more than frustrated at people's inability to have a rational, intelligent and nuanced discussion about this thing - whether it be about masks, vaccines, lockdowns, "case" numbers or just the virus itself.

I'm sure a lot of it is driven by fear and lack of accurate and timely information. I would consider the MSM to be a major contributing factor in this, but also government, the current polarised political landscape and to a certain extent, the scientific community themselves. It is very difficult to find a balanced viewpoint on anything Covid-19 related. I agree with @TheXMan that an honest narrative is required but I don't believe you will get one from this government, nor any political party in this country.

One should be allowed to question whether a Level 3 lockdown for our largest city is an appropriate response in the case that three people in one household are confirmed Covid-19 cases. I'm not suggesting that no response is required and we should just "do nothing", but we do have systems in place to deal with minor outbreaks. Given the amount of time the family spent at popular tourist hotspots in New Plymouth, why are they not in Level 3 too?

One should also be allowed to question just how virulent the U.K./S.A. variant is in a New Zealand setting, when so few people seem to contract it in the community. I have been very interested in the fact that, or so it appears, nobody else seemed to contract the virus following the Pullman hotel cases. These are not unreasonable questions to ask. The push back people seem to get for asking questions of this nature is disturbing. But maybe it is the way the question is posed?

There are a number of ways to deal with a spreading virus. A lockdown is one way. Other ways could include all or a combination of the following: appropriate social distancing, appropriate mask usage, contact tracing, isolation facilities, vaccines, prophylaxis, border management and a strong and healthy population of people. It is incredibly frustrating to keep reading, "we only have our freedom because of lockdowns", or similar. That is only partly true. In my opinion, the greatest thing keeping us "free" is the fact that we are a mostly self sufficient, sparsely populated island nation, with pretty reasonable weather/sunlight, who has the ability to manage a reasonably robust MIQ programme for people entering the country. Is it perfect? Of course not, but the system, along with the other national initiatives have done a pretty good job keeping the virus out, even in cases where it has come out of a MIQ facility. 643 cases have been caught at MIQ facilities, which is about 25% of all of our cases. So lets not pretend that lockdowns are the only means of dealing with this thing, because they are not.

I find it interesting that the "health population" bit (above) has been seemingly ignored by almost everybody for the duration of the pandemic. Surely, given the amount of time, money and energy the government spends on public health campaigns, this pandemic would be a great excuse to push things such as: reduce alcohol, increase exercise, increase sleep, eat a healthy diet, lose weight, quit smoking, ensure you are getting Vitamin D, Zinc etc. There is only one person on these boards, and they know who they are, who has ever mentioned such things. Beyond that, I haven't heard a peep from anybody else - government, MSM etc. Why is this?

I am a big fan of The Dark Horse Podcast with Bret Weinstein (of the Evergreen State College protests fame) and his wife Heather Heying. They are both evolutionary biologists and provide a very balanced and scientific view of the current state of the world, including some very interesting and in-depth discussions around Covid-19. I highly recommend this to, well, anybody that has an interest in learning (particularly about Covid).

Looking forward to seeing some more nuanced discussions on these pages.

It is absolutely startling there is no healthly living advice coming from anywhere in the media or from officials (which is still the media). Everyone should be questioning why, because there is a heafty balance of science to rely on. The hose is half the equation and it being totally ignored. Can't make money out of healthy people though aye?

I've learnt no one listens to the smartest guy in the room, so they everntually shut up and you are left with those that think they are smart making all the noise. No way the smart people can be heard about the chatter.

All you can do is outlive your enemies, people will die rather than give up a patently flawed opinion. I love Ray Dalio's work on this, 80% of poeple can't handle their opinion being stress tested.

This place has grown too commercially successful for the nuanced discussion that was happening 10 years ago, you'll have to go elsewhere for that now. I've noticed most of the wise old heads have gone, or don't say much.

Thanks for the link go Brett, I'll take a look at that. He and his brother are first class minds, have you seen the video of the two of them together?

I have not seen any overly unreasonable shut down of discussion on this website. If someone wants to say something which is far outside of the collective norm, they are going to have to have a convincing well thought out argument or they can expect to be challenged by the majority outlining why they think as they do. Freedom of speech goes both ways.
I doubt healthy living advise ad's on tv/facebook would make much difference in peoples actions. Most people already know if they are living unhealthily and that it is bad for them and will likely shorten their lives, virus or not. There are a lot of factors in the equation as to why people do what they do, and public advertising campaigns isn't a magic bullet. It would probably more effective to change laws to restrict trading/advertising and add taxes, which I expect would be quite unpopular.
So far, the approach we have taken has worked to keep the virus out of the country. Once it is here, it cannot be easily removed, as is seen in most other countries. And it is a nasty disease which completely overwhelms public health systems if given half a chance. No wonder there is a shared conservatism to the approach being taken.

NZ way of thinking; yip no more positive test result for the recent blitz- then away we go down, 3 days in level 2 then back to normal at level 1 after that - 7 days must be avoided, as it cost too much (govt won't say it loudly).
.. deep down all those scientist can only hope that the 'NZ lucky charm continues'.. tricky this.. incubation period

Let's pull the draw-bridge up on the moat for six months and test to see how resilient and industrious we really are? Why not? 'We' blab about it all the time, so why not test ourselves?

"we" would find out within days just how little is being produced in this country... even foodstuffs! Despite what we are being told by supermarkets. If you pull up the drawbridge, we would face a radically altered lifestyle overnight!

Theres increasing background evidence that strongly suggests the C virus was leaked from a secret bio weapons lab in China, which coincidentally (or conveniently) got out during the Military Games in October. China of course has denied this, instead has engaged in an endless propaganda campaign to deny its responsibility - the Chinese narrative and Chinese cover-up are all you get from the MSM.

Seems logical to me unless someone else can convince me playing with a virus and giving it gain of function leads to any beneficial science to mankind. Looks to me its just designed to kill people and cripple economies without the infrastructure and environmental damage of nuclear weapons. Nothing would surprise me including the Chinese having a vaccine for this before it even "Accidently got out" or even if it was deliberately released.